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American Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is Next Great Names Speaker


Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson, an American astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium, will appear as the next guest and the first scientist in the Hamilton College Sacerdote Great Names Series on Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m., in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House.  He will give an interactive presentation which will followed by a question and answer period.

The event will be free and open to the public.

Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he graduated from Bronx High School of Science. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia.

Tyson’s professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.

In 2001, Tyson was appointed by President Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the Future of the U.S. Aerospace Industry.  He was later appointed by Bush to serve on the Moon, Mars, and Beyond commission. This group navigated a path by which the new space vision can become a successful part of the American agenda. In 2006, Tyson was appointed to serve on NASA’s prestigious advisory council.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson has written, and continues to write for the public. From 1995 to 2005, he was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title Universe.

Among Tyson's 10 books are his memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist, and Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, co-written with Donald Goldsmith. Origins is the companion book to the PBS-NOVA 4-part mini-series Origins, in which Tyson served as on-camera host. The program premiered in 2004.

Two of Tyson's recent books are Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, which was a New York Times bestseller, and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s planetary status.

For five seasons, beginning in 2006, Tyson was the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA’s spinoff program NOVA Science NOW, which is an accessible look at the frontier of all the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.

During the summer of 2009 Tyson identified a stable of professional standup comedians to assist his effort in bringing science to commercial radio with the NSF-funded pilot program StarTalk. Now also a popular podcast, and a limited-run television series on the National Geographic Channel, StarTalk combines celebrity guests with informative yet playful banter.

Tyson has received 19 honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid 13123 Tyson.
In February 2012, Tyson released his 10th book: Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.

Recently Tyson served as executive editor and on-camera host and narrator for Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, the 21st century reboot of Carl Sagan’s landmark television series. The show ran 13 episodes in primetime on the FOX network in 2014, and appeared in 181 countries in 45 languages around the world on the National Geographic Channels. Cosmos won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and two Critics Choice awards, among other industry recognitions.

Tyson was appointed the fifth head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City in 1996 and is the first holder of its Frederick P. Rose Directorship. He is also a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Astrophysics.

Tyson will be the first scientist to speak as part of the Sacerdote Series. Other speakers in the Series have included Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Jon Stewart, Madeleine Albright,  Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell,  Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lady Margaret Thatcher, and F.W. deKlerk.  In 1998, jazz and blues singer/musician B.B. King was the first artist to appear as part of the series.

Further details about Tyson’s visit and information about group reservations will be forthcoming after January 16.  

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